Belfast Telegraph

Coveney visits Londonderry’s Fountain estate in wake of disturbances

By Victoria Leonard

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney yesterday visited Londonderry's unionist Fountain estate to meet Church and community leaders following recent unrest in the city.

Earlier this month, local people suffered six consecutive nights of disorder, including petrol bombs being thrown in the vicinity of the city walls and at police patrols.

The disorder, which centred on the nationalist Bogside area, also saw around six shots fired at police officers close to the city's walls.

Other incidents included a rioter throwing an ignited petrol bomb at a moving white transit van near the Bogside Inn.

On the sixth night, two improvised explosive devices were thrown at police officers.

A total of 74 petrol bombs were also thrown that night.

Soon after, DUP leader Arlene Foster visited the Fountain estate, where rioters had targeted homes, and wrote on Twitter she said she was "so proud of the community spirit".

During his initial visit, Mr Coveney met police and residents from the Bogside, but did not venture into the Fountain.

Yesterday, the Tanaiste said he had been "anxious to visit the Fountain" and added said he was "here to listen to everybody".

"The last time I was here I focused on the Bogside," he told the BBC.

"I was very conscious that I didn't have an opportunity to meet many unionists.

"Today I was anxious to visit the Fountain.

"We had a great meeting in the youth centre and subsequently met a number of Church leaders and community leaders to talk about what happened."

During yesterday's visit, Mr Coveney enjoyed a game of pool with a young person, and praised the "warm reception" he had received.

"He beat me I'm glad to say," he continued.

"It was a very warm reception.

"I'm here to listen to everybody and not just one side.

"That's an important role for me to play."

Following the disorder in Londonderry, the DUP, Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance issued a joint statement calling for an end to the "disgraceful violence".

They said: "We condemn any illegal activity and urge those who are damaging their own community and intimidating their neighbours to stop."

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